Q.1: The reason for Madonna’s success in the world of entertainment is her focus and skills in understanding the direction and needs of the market and investing in efforts to adapt herself and her music accordingly. Essentially, she displays the skill of understanding the implications of changes in the market and is willing to change along with it, particularly in terms of the content and subject of her music, the style of music, and her image and brand. At the same time, she is daring and willing to choose and do creative things, including unconventional ones, to reinvent herself and remain relevant in the market. These efforts make her effective in advertising and marketing herself to a diverse market and successive generations.
Early in her career, when she recognized the commercial implications of the emerging music scene in New York, she was willing to frequent popular dance clubs and show off flamboyant clothing and provocative dancing (Grant 490). This recognition illustrates Madonna’s foresight and willingness to adapt. She is calculative, willing to utilize available opportunities strategically to further her career, and achieve success. After recognizing the commercial value of the new musical wave in New York in the early 1980s and realizing that dance clubs and DJs were essential as platforms and gatekeepers respectively in its development, she focused on patronizing the clubs and making unique fashion and image statements. Staff in these clubs noted her focus on the “hottest” DJs, which resulted in her introduction to executives of a division of Warner Records and a recording contract (Grant 490). Her focus on success was evident in her impatience with producers and agents who failed to deliver instant success. She elected to live in a building housing numerous studios, bands, and rehearsal rooms whilst making an endless stream of calls to industry players (agents, managers, club entrepreneurs, record companies, etc.). These efforts and choices illustrated her focus on associating herself with industry players and acquiring close contacts with resourceful people to attain success. This effort illustrates Madonna’s focus on mobilizing and investing in appropriate resources to facilitate her success. Additionally, when personal relationships threatened to compromise her career goals, she was swift to exit from them. She used her love relationships as a way to enhance her status as a celebrity and further her career. An illustration of this focus was her relationship with Sean Penn, who was a bad-boy actor. She also left her marriage to Sean Penn after perceiving it as a threat for her career objectives. Despite relying on companies, the intellect of others, and the social power that others provided for her career, she remained in charge of managing and developing her career (492).
Madonna has focused on reinvention to remain famous and achieve publicity for her music. One of the principal areas of focus in this context has featured her willingness to court and embrace controversy in her career, looking primarily at its value in promoting her music and maintaining her relevance in the music industry rather than its effect on her image as an “ideal” woman. She has embraced explicit sexuality in her videos and tours, resulting in continuous publicity and promoting her perpetual position in the frontline of the society’s ideas and debates about the borders of appropriate or acceptable sexual behavior.
Q.2: Madonna pursues the strategy of achieving and preserving her fame. She is willing to do anything, including breaking away from tradition and culture and using her sexuality, to ensure this objective. These efforts are evident in her readiness to court controversy and push the boundaries of what is acceptable in culture and society. She has engaged in overt sexuality, expletive-laced talk in public, and use of crucifixes as items of jewelry despite disquiet in religious and conservative contexts, emphasizing on the “sexy” nature of crucifixes because of the presence of a “naked” man on them (Grant 492). This strategy is also evident in her videos that feature stunning mixtures of religion and sex. In essence, sex has served as the core and overriding theme in Madonna’s strategy to achieve and preserve her fame. This focus of Madonna’s strategy has generated high levels of controversy, including charges that her depictions and behaviors, especially those that connote religion, are blasphemous (Grant 493).
Q.3: Strategy refers essentially to a plan of action or a structured path that an individual plans to utilize to achieve an overall or long-term objective. In an unpredictable and fast-changing environment, it involves the plan that an individual has to negotiate through conditions of uncertainty or unfavorable circumstances. Strategy generally involves planning, goal-setting, choice of actions to achieve objectives, and the mobilization of resources to execute the actions. Madonna’s career illustrates that strategy involves the continuous confrontation of and adaptation to challenges and circumstances through hard work and amendments (improvements or complete changes) of plans of action.
Q.4: The role of strategy in success is to address conditions of uncertainty, changing environments, and unfavorable factors to facilitate the achievement of set objectives. Like all other aspects of life, the path towards success features a complex mixture of opportunities, challenges, threats, tricks, uncertainties, and solutions that individuals have to address and negotiate through their evaluations, critical thinking, teamwork, decision-making, and a combination of foresight, instinct, and knowledge. The strategy enables individuals to negotiate effectively through these challenges and uncertainties. It features individuals’ exploitation of their strengths and opportunities and available resources (including assistance from others) to address challenges in the path towards success.
Some individuals attain more success relative to others owing to a combination of happenstance (being in the right place at the right time) and behaviors and decisions with favorable outcomes. Happenstance involves the lack of individuals in terms of benefitting from situations and the availability of, or capacity to utilize, certain resources without their deliberate planning. Chance occurrences and situations represent a significant source of the success of individuals because of their role in influencing unexpected directions in life and the choices of individuals, including choices of career. The residence of some individuals in developed societies with advanced infrastructure and commercial, educational, and career environments places them at an advantage for success compared to those in poor societies despite having the same abilities. Behaviors such as hard work, informed decision-making, and apt use of opportunities are valuable influences of success.
Q.5: It is not possible to generalize about the characteristics of strategy that promote success owing to the unpredictable nature of circumstances and factors that determine success or failure in particular areas of life. Nonetheless, all successful strategies tend to feature hard work, the search for and use of relevant information, competent choices of actions/decision-making, creativity, and readiness to think and act “out of the box.”
Grant, Robert. “Case 1: Madonna” (pp.489-496), n.d.